Why I’m So Tepid About The 2008 Candidates

It won’t surprise regular readers of my bloviations that my political interests are mostly about foreign policy and civil liberties. Economic policy in the US is along too narrow a gamut and affects too few people for me to care that much. That’s the real source of my admiration for Feingold (and contempt for Kucinich).

So a huge chunk of my concern in 2008 is that nobody’s talking about my issues, which are the issues important to the largest number of people in the world. The office of the President of the United States combines this of the USA’s chief executive with this of the world’s; right now, everybody focuses on the former.

Now, that’s understandable insofar as 95% of the world doesn’t get to choose the global chief executive, but the consequences of that aren’t especially positive. I don’t think Obama and Edwards are committed to bombing random countries; the reason they make aggressive statements about Iran is that they don’t know or care much about foreign policy.

I like to say that turning “I will make the trains run on time” into a slogan is lousy politics. But in fact the only thing that’s worse than someone who campaigns on making trains run on time is someone who can’t make the trains run on time. Anyone in high office in the US can do good domestic policy – the Speaker of the House, in particular – but only the President can execute foreign policy, and only the executive can crack down on civil liberties.

So far I’m for Obama by an infinitesimal margin, because his statements on Iran are slightly less horrifying than those of Clinton and Edwards. But I harbor no illusions that if elected (and he won’t be), he’ll pursue a wise foreign policy. Even the Republicans don’t have any serious foreign policy candidate; McCain may try looking like a serious foreign policy person, but he’s really just a serious pandering person.

That’s why I’m so tepid about the 2008 candidates. I’m very high maintenance when it comes to inspiration, and have an annoying habit of not taking anyone at his word when he tries convincing the public to make him the most powerful person in the world. Right now there are seven candidates I consider viable, of whom one is a theocrat and six are slimeballs.

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